A La Plata firm has lost its bid to set up an adult-survival-games franchise on about 300 acres in a remote portion of Charles County.
The Charles County Zoning Appeals Board decided last week that parking arrangements detailed by Maryland Surplus and Outdoor Supply Co. in testimony before the board differed from those in the original application submitted by the sporting goods store.
In the original application, Maryland Surplus said participants in the weekend war games -- an adult version of "Capture the Flag" in which combatants from two teams shoot each other with paint pellets to win -- would be brought in by bus from a nearby school and that no on-site parking would be needed.
During testimony at the Nov. 26 hearing, however, Maryland Surplus manager Bryan Jackson said an adjacent field would be used for parking.
The zoning board said nearby property owners did not get adequate notice of this change and rejected the application.
A spokesman for Maryland Surplus said the company will lease or rent other property in the county and try again to win approval for the project, rather than wait the year required between applications on the same property.
Zoning officials "were just looking for an excuse to turn us down," a Maryland Surplus spokesman said. "All along, they've had the wrong idea about the games. They have it locked in their mind that it's some kind of warfare training, rather than just games and recreation."
During an earlier interview, manager Jackson said survival games are played by a growing number of white-collar professionals at 200 franchises nationwide, and he called the four-hour games a popular replacement for the company picnic.
A manager of several franchises in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties said that more than 10,000 players have dressed in camouflage and combat gear and paid about $25 apiece to play the games during the first year of these operations.